The Three Metal-Smiths

by Beth Haley

Once upon a time, a terrible drought plunged an ancient kingdom into hard times. The people were not able to work their lands as they normally would and food was becoming scarce. So the good king employed workers from the surrounding villages to help with the new temple that was being built.

At that time, a traveler came riding through the city and came upon three people who were working near the temple site. They tended the hot fires of a forge, working and shaping, heating and cooling pieces of misshapen metal.

Curious, the traveler asked the first worker, “What are you doing?”

The first worker replied instantly, “I’m out here in this stinking heat, sweating my brains out over these fires and hammering on ugly chunks of metal all day like a slave to make dishes for the temple. Curse this!”

A bit taken back, the traveler approached the second worker and asked the same question, “What are you doing?”

The second worker replied, “I am refining and shaping this metal into service dishes for the temple, many hours a day, so that I can provide food for my family.”

Intrigued by the spirit of these two different answers, the traveler asked the same question of the third worker.

Carefully placing a beautifully molded cup into the fire once more, her eyes never leaving her work, she replied, “I am crafting the Golden Chalice!”

Three workers. Three very different attitudes and perspectives about what they were doing.

The first two workers were opposite sides of the same coin: one side was negative and the other side was positive.

The third worker seemed to have a different view. She was not fighting the steam, the heat of the day, the scorch of the fires, or worry about her life in general. She was not deliberating over a paycheck, or the fate of the future, but instead was focused on the task set before her. She accepted the good along with the bad, without resistance.

According to the Bhagavad Gita the third worker’s view of life would be considered as “Pure.” The “pure” way of looking at life is more meditative and reflects a peace of mind and of being less attached to life’s ups and downs.

Adapted from: “The Story of the Stone Cutters


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